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Stock Mic Quality

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Apr 5, 2003
I guess it's fair to assume that most users ditch their stock mic in favor of a power mic the first chance they can. Even 35 years ago, most every cb user considered the mic packaged along with the radio to be a POS. When I was wiring up power mics years ago, I wound up with quite a collection of stock mics that I was told to keep. Great deal for me, I never met a radio that I didn't have a mic to test with.

Let me back up a bit though. I came to CB from professional audio and studying for my amateur ticket at the same time. I worked summers as an intern for a film production house doing location and post-production recording. Even in the late 60's, professionally, the dynamic mics had little use except for sound reinforcement or rough use. Condensor and ribbon mics that had to be remotely powered were the typical mics used. Even among the best dynamics like AKG or Beyer, listening to two A/B'd was like listening to night and day in terms of sounding "live". Even the amateurs took to electret element mics almost wholesale by the late 70's much in part to the japanese manufactuers offering station mics, albiet for much different reasons that fidelity had nothing to do with. Same went for FM commercial mics which were almost all controlled reluctance type mics by shure inside that emulated a carbon mic and directly interchangeable in most cases. For reasons of pre/de-emphsis, high pass filtering for ctcss, FM or I should say PM wasn't necessarly pre-occupied with fidelity any more then SSB was for different reasons.

So we get back to AM. High level modulation and a good detector and relatively no need for processing beyond bandwidth and uncritical stability should be able to reproduce audio quality (not to be confused with loudness from processing or compression) pretty well given a good, low noise circuit.

While even today, the misinformation and comprehension of what is called good audio is relatively determined by other misinformed individuals. Those that give radio checks or intimidate new users and indoctrinating them into bad audio for good audio as their metric of what a mic should sound like.

Then there is this bizzare issue that most CBers wouldn't accept a electret mic element in a mic as cheap junk. I've even seen this happen with commercial radios where an old style mic is replaced with a newer one that's feather light. Suddenly the new mic is garbage. Inside they are almost identical except the company was smart early on and compensated the mic with a heavy steel plate inside to make up for the difference in mass between older controlled reluctance or dynamic versions. Yet, the perception is the mic sounds horrible and they demand an old style mic. Fine with us and a rebuild with a new cord/connector or a NOS or used mic that totals around $90 to make them happy. Most all of these were usually initated by a user or dispatcher that somehow conflated a smaller,featherweight mic with bad audio and it's like a contagion that the dispatcher will usually agree. The user that often starts this nonsense is or was a CB'er.

I'm not going to go on as there is really more here that I've experienced over the years. I've yet to understand why this continued perception exists beyond some mics are indeed more suitble for Skip/SSB that has nothing to do with quality, but for peak responses in intelligibility ranges and/or some compression that does make the mic stand out. This is something that can easily be accomplished electronically with any mic if desired by voice tailoring the audio response, but has very little to do with the quality of the mic. That reason alone makes a Super Side Kick or +3 a much more desirable mic then a stock or company provided amplified base mic. It simply punches through the rest, but on it's own, it really sounds pretty crappy compared to the neutrality of a good quality dynamic or electret cartridge mic.

There's good, neutral sounding audio
There's loud and thick sounding audio from compression primarly
Then there's total orafices with cut limiters and overdriven modulators that splatter asymetric audio.

I don't understand why the last category is the desired one as it's absolutely unintelligable and makes the op sound like a total idiot and the shops that do this IMHO criminal both legally and what they do to the radios with their special "tune ups". How the hell is this considered "competion audio" is besides me along with the abusurd power levels, esecially mobile with the radiator just feet from the person's body.

Anyone want to take a shot at this?


Database Admin
Jun 5, 2002
Hubert, NC
It's all in seeing the needle move more. If a CBer sees their meter move more on the aftermarket mic than they do on the stock mic, then they're going to use the aftermarket mic, because they thinks it is better. No matter the sound quality on the receive side of their signal. The same goes for the "tweak n peak" specials. It doesn't matter if they are splattering their signal across several channels as long as they are loud and their needle is moving.
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